Take James Franklin Jeffrey, a career Foreign Service hack who signed a scathing NeverTrump letter in 2016, then got a post as President Trump’s “Special Representative for Syria Engagement” anyway, and went on to sabotage the president’s plans for keeping Americans out of the Syrian mess. On his way out the door to a cozy retirement, Ambassador Jeffrey publicly boasted that he had lied to the president about troop numbers in Syria.
“We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there,” he told Defense One.
After the defeat of ISIS, the president gave orders to withdraw our troops — but the likes of Jeffrey simply defied them. Twice, in fact: in 2018 and 2019. “What Syria withdrawal?” There was never a Syria withdrawal,” Jeffrey told reporter Katie Bo Williams. “When the situation in northeast Syria had been fairly stable after we defeated ISIS, [Trump] was inclined to pull out. In each case, we then decided to come up with five better arguments for why we needed to stay. And we succeeded both times.”
The president was led to believe only a skeleton force remained. In fact, there were hundreds more troops that Deep State officials like Jeffrey never disclosed: not to President Trump nor to any other elected official.